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Punica Granatum

2018 // Adult, Documentary, Short Film, Traditional 2D


Dir: Phoebe Halstead

What is the film about?

On July 5, 2017, Ali Gharavi and his colleague Peter Steudtner were arrested in Büyükada Istanbul, together with the 8 participants in their workshop on well-being and information strategy for Human Rights Defenders.

All 10 were falsely charged with providing support to terrorist organizations. They were detained and held without trial for 4 months. The case of Taner Kılıç, chair of Amnesty International Turkey, was added to the case. At the first hearing on October 25th, all of the #Istanbul10 were released from pre-trial detention. Taner Kılıç remains locked up in an overcrowded cell in Izmir. The case for all 11 continues in Istanbul.

This film tells the story of one of the #Istanbul10, Ali Gharavi, an Iranian-Swedish writer, playwright, and information technology strategy consultant.

The poem was written years ago for Ali by Laressa Dickey, his wife. Both the poem and animation make use of imagery from Ali’s childhood in Iran, when he would often visit his family’s pomegranate orchard, and both explore themes of freedom of movement and of speech.

What influenced it?

When we were storyboarding we had in mind Jonathan Hodgson’s The Man With the Beautiful Eyes, for it’s dynamic transitions and incredible use of hand painted imagery. We were influenced by the layered effects found in print making. David Hockney’s watercolour sketches were something we kept coming back to for their loose brush work and amazing compositions.

A little background information...

We were approached by the poet, Laressa Dickey to help tell the story of the Istanbul 10, a group of Human Rights Defenders who were arrested in Turkey and accused of aiding an extremist terrorist group. One of these was her husband.

We wanted to share the story and point people toward this petition:
To free Taner and drop the charges against the #Istanbul10

As film makers we collaborate as ARC to help people tell the stories that matter to them, with an emphasis on creating animation with bold design rooted in drawing and mark making. We were struck by the poem, which was written years ago, before the arrest, and it seemed to be full of imagery about freedom of speech and movement.

How was the film made?

We created the film using scarlett watercolour on paper, compositing the sequences in Aftereffects.

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